As I shut my computer, letting the weight of Kill Your Darlings sink in, I felt a stirrings.
There has always been something strangely alluring to me about poetry. I never really gave it much though ’til now.
I think it’s the same reason as why I prefer abstract painting to realistic painting – there’s beauty, even a certain order, in the chaos.
Poetry, to me is chaotic. At least, the kind I read. Free verse, no rhyme or reason or rhythm, just utter abandon and free expression of inner thought and philosophy. I almost prefer poetry to writing in some ways. There’s a depth to it I struggle to explain. Poetry, like most writing, is something you feel. Unlike most writing, poetry tends to be abstract and open to interpretation.
And as I finished Kill Your Darlings, the sudden realization of how poetry has managed to seduce me hit me like a wave. I write poems – quite often, as a matter of fact – and they’re nothing grand or extraordinary and they aren’t even consistent. Instead, they’re fragmented and some are short – a sentence or two – and others are long. But they carry a weight, an abstract chaos, to them.
Poetry is a hard thing to explain, admittedly. I find I’m intimidated by the very idea of showcasing some of my works to close family or friends. I fear they won’t understand, that they may mock the idea of written self-expression. These fears, however unfounded, have haunted the great poets of every generation, I suppose.
Gone are the days when writers could be found on every street corner. The Beat Generation, when literature was changing the world, has passed. Now, people look to the vastly biased and deeply shallow World Wide Web for education and revelation. Books are increasingly rare, replaced by computers and Kindles. Writers with any sense of depth become fewer and fewer as illiteracy sweeps through homes like the Black Plague.
I feel like I was born for an era not my own. Perhaps Kill Your Darlings romanticized the Beat Generation for me, perhaps I’m wishful for a time that doesn’t exist, perhaps I’m lost in daydreams.
But there’s something about poetry that has always felt displaced, even rebellious. Many assume it to be a feminine act; many others find it a waste of time. Once, free verse was considered abominable, and the epitome of literature was that which never broke the rules. But isn’t writing meant to break barriers? Isn’t it meant to venture into unexplored frontiers? Don’t we have poetry to thank for our philosophies and ideologies?
People may not know it, but vibrant and chaotic self-expression exists at our core. In fact, I would argue that it is, perhaps, one of the many building blocks of any great nation.
There is beauty in chaos, because chaos, by definition, breaks the set order of things, it shatters preconceived notions and revolutionizes human perception. Chaotic self-expression is necessary. That is, if you intend on changing the world.
And I fully intend to do so.